World

Information about current and past events in the world can be found under the headings at the side.

For example there is a range of articles and video about Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan under the Middle East.

Efforts to prevent the occupation of these countries can be found under No War.

3 responses to “World

  1. prol-position news #10 – 10/2008 – http://www.prol-position.net

    List of Content

    Editorial
    Since we published the first issue of prol-position news in March 2005
    the world-wide transfor mation of the conditions of exploitation
    continued, factories and call centers kept on moving around the globe,
    workers followed them or went ahead, markets boomed and slumped, laws
    were made and broken, assembly-lines and offices got re-shuffled and
    re-connected to the world wide web of transport and divided labor. The
    newslet ters reflected these changes. More on web-site…

    Comments on Crisis
    The current financial crisis is rooted in the crisis of social
    production: profit squeeze / over-accumulation in the industrialized
    regions of the world, workers unrests and increasing desires in the
    newly industrialized periphery, major pressure from the roaming rural
    proletariat of the South, trying to escape the misery of the soil and
    village life. More…

    China’s Migrant Workers
    Even before the beginning of the reforms in 1978 socialist China had
    experienced migration move ments. In the early 1950s millions came from
    the countryside to the cities to work in the new state industries. At
    first, they were needed there, but with unemployment and problems with
    supplies of e.g. food in the mid-50s the government introduced a strict
    household registration system (hu kou). The hukou-system restricted the
    mobility of most Chinese and kept them in the countryside for the next
    decades. More…

    The Generation of Unhappy Workers in China
    During the restructuring of the 1980s and 1990s the urban proletariat of
    the state-owned factories – the gongren – was the focus of the
    restructuring and experienced massive layoffs after 1997. Before the
    reforms the differences between the gongren and the peasants and migrant
    workers were all too obvious. A part of the gongren had a number of
    benefits, like a guaranteed work place and bet ter health care, and were
    considered a strong pil lar of the socialist regime. But after the
    reforms, the urban proletariat became the losers. More…

    Female Workers Under Maoist Patriarchy
    One may think socialism wiped out the Chinese form of “feudalistic”
    patriarchy. At least, Maoism improved the women’s situation in
    comparison to the time before “liberation”, in the cities as well as on
    the countryside. After “liberation” in 1949 most urban women did wage
    labor in state-owned fac tories or other businesses, while rural women
    were drawn into the people’s communes’ labor service. That changed their
    position in the family, also because due to the low wages in the Mao-era
    the women’s wage was an important part of the family income. More…

    Dacia-Renault in Romania
    On March 24, 2008, about 8,000 of the 13,000 workers at the Dacia car
    factory in Romania went on an open-ended strike. One of their demands
    was a wage increase of 50 to 70 percent. For the first time in a strike
    in Romania, the strikers did not base their demands on standard wages in
    Romania but compared themselves to Renault workers in Turkey or France,
    who earn between 900 and 2,000 Euros for the same work (the workers at
    Da cia earn about 300 Euros). This strike at Dacia is the most
    significant struggle in the Romanian pri vate sector since 1989 and
    could be the beginning of a wave of strikes for better living conditions
    across the country. More…

    Docker Strike in Romania
    In Romania the strike wave contin ues: on Thursday morning, 17th of July
    2008, five hundred dock workers at the Agigea Sud terminal went on
    indefinite strike. The terminal belongs to the container port of
    Constanta , a town at the Ro manian coast of the Black Sea. Their main
    de mands: a wage increase of 700 Ron (about 200 Euros), a bonus for
    seniority, extra-payment for overtime and a clear regulation of the
    working-time.The author of this article was in Constanta and talked to
    the workers. More…

    Filipina Textile Workers in Romania
    Like many other companies in the Romanian tex tile and construction
    sectors, textiles firm Mon dostar has had to struggle with a persistent
    labor shortage for several years. Amongst the local workers hardly
    anyone is willing to work for the low wages paid in the textile
    industries. Since three months ago Mondostar has employed 95 women from
    the Philippines in order to counter act the shrinking supply of labor.
    Hoping for a good job in Europe, the workers from the Philip pines
    borrowed money while still in their home country. More…

    Bangladeshi Workers in Romania
    The first workers from Bangladesh that we meet in the town-center of
    Bacau belong to the 74 con struction-workers who have been employed for
    three months by the firm Rombet S.A. They are working with local
    construction-workers on the large construction-site for a new shopping
    mall. They cannot complain about the food and accom modation. “But the
    wages are much too low! We have a contract for 500 US-Dollars on 8 hours
    a day. But we work 10 hours each day, including Saturday, and we only
    get 375 US-Dollars!” More…

    Machine Plant in Germany
    Winter 2008. Lunch break at MOB, a special ma chine manufacturing
    company in Luckenwalde, 60 kilometers south of Berlin, an industrial
    dormi tory town, high unemployment, and the home town of Rudi Dutschke,
    the 1968 SDS student leader. China and the international supply chains
    reverberate in this German small town proletarian daily life. The 80
    workmates are from the hinter land of Brandenburg and Saxony, mostly
    village types, but they have assembled giant engine washing-machines in
    car factories around the globe: for VW in Poznan, Poland, Chery in
    China, Daimler in Western Germany, Volvo in Sweden, BMW in the USA,
    Conti in Japan or for wheel rim manufacturing plants in Tijuana, Mexico.
    More…

    Organizing
    (Former) left radicals and unions work together – not only in political
    alliances, e.g. when organiz ing certain campaigns (clean clothes,
    campaigns for global social rights etc.). In wildcat #78 we ex plained
    and criticized the “organizing”-approach which has created illusions
    concerning a “new type of union”. The illusions prevail mainly amongst
    those lefties who got engaged in the de bate about ‘precarity’ during
    the last years. If we start from the general critique of unions as
    organi zations of representation of workers then we have to state that
    ‘organizing’ is not better than the tra ditional union work, but rather
    its continuation. ‘Organizing’ certainly does not stand for a rupture
    neither with the traditional claim to represent and nor with social
    partnership. More…

    —————————————

    Comments on Crisis

    The following are rather more preliminary and turmoiled thoughts in
    turmoiled times than a collectively debated position…

    Stop looking into the headlights – It’s a production affair!

    The current financial crisis is rooted in the crisis of social
    production: profit squeeze / over-accumulation in the industrialized
    regions of the world, workers unrests and increasing desires in the
    newly industrialized periphery, major pressure from the roaming rural
    proletariat of the South, trying to escape the misery of the soil and
    village life.

    There might be a crash, but no short-cut!

    We have to understand the real limits of capitalist social production
    which are hidden behind the current crisis, not only in order to avoid
    false short-cuts (demands for regulation of the financial sphere from
    the moderate left, un-rooted voluntaristic proclamations or
    “direct-action” from the radicals), but also in order to find a
    revolutionary answer within the proletariat: not as bank-scratching
    paupers who have lost their little savings, but as producers who have
    fueled the frenzy and who are able to produce a different social
    community. In the following we will try to lay out some of the material
    limitations of the current capitalist cycle. We will mainly refer to the
    global automobile industry and we have a reason for doing so: it was and
    still is the main industry of this capitalist cycle, the “American
    Century”, it is one of the most socialized industries with the longest
    production chains within the international division of labor, the most
    resource and human labor consuming sector.

    Under the surface of over-production and financial bubbles: a way too
    productive social cooperation!

    The industrial crisis has been simmering since the early 1970s, since
    then “de-industrialization” was the word of the day, everyone focused on
    rust-belts and increasing unemployment. In fact most industries were not
    dismantled but underwent a productivity boost. While it took 20,000
    workers to produce 100,000 GM cars in the mid 1970s, today the job is
    done by 6,000 workers. The same is true for misnamed “post-Fordist”
    industries, e.g. call centers, where 100 or 200 agents easily displace
    1,000 white-collar workers, e.g. in banking or insurances. The
    expenditure for capital to surround and suck out the remaining workers
    with ever more machinery increases, the real unemployment and
    unproductive jobs, too. The enormous increase in productivity meets its
    consequence: falling relative income and falling profits in the
    production sphere. This emerges as an over-production crisis. The
    back-bone of Neo-Keynesianism (give people more money and the economy
    will recover) has now been broken twice. Firstly, people had the deficit
    spending power, but it didn’t help. Secondly, this crisis reveals that
    capitalism is not a consumer society: a decreasing share of the social
    product is dedicated for private consumption, the increasing share flows
    into the extension of the (war/factory) machinery…

    Dot.com dead: No new product-cycle in sight!

    Despite all the talk about an information society and post-industrial
    relations, no social product and mode of production has emerged which
    would have replaced industrial products like cars, mobile-phones etc.
    The hailed new consumer goods (DVD-Players, mobile phones etc.) need a
    tiny fraction of social labor, the Nokia plant in Bochum manufactured
    100,000 to 150,000 phones per day and was closed because it was not
    productive enough. A micro-wave plant in China supplies half of the
    world demand for micro-waves: you cannot build a capitalist cycle on
    that! And you cannot build it on IT services. The dot.com crisis was the
    final straw, the new sector which was supposed to be the way out of the
    automobile crisis and it collapsed within no time! The flight into
    finance accelerated.

    The crisis won’t be exported: China and India have to cope with the
    increasing unrest of a mobile urban/rural proletariat!

    The last WTO talks failed, the global South, namely India and China, did
    not want to swallow the over-production of the North, particularly the
    agrarian surplus production. This is not due to any kind of
    anti-imperialist attitude, but due to the major challenge of global
    capitalism: a rapidly growing proletariat in the global rural South.
    Most of the rural population in India and China (about 1.7 billion
    people) depend on wages and commodities – the ups and downs of markets!
    They have left the misery of village’s personal hierarchies and
    exploitation and find themselves in the social whirl-pool of
    proletarianization: increase of insecurity and desire. The states of the
    South need a relatively calm hinterland; they are busy copying with the
    new urban working class, migrating workers and growing slums. The state
    tries to tackle the rural proletariat with migration control and
    histories’ largest job schemes. The complete opening of the regional
    market for the excess production from the North would cause major
    disruption in a situation of simmering social turmoil: millions of
    semi-proletarianized households (half depending on wage work, half on
    agricultural production) would have to compete with industrialized
    agriculture and be thrown into the social void.

    No low wage paradise left: The crisis won’t be re-located anymore!

    So far the core plants of the automobile sector have not been re-located
    to low-wage countries, mainly due to the major share of fixed capital: a
    car plant is heavier than sewing machines or head-sets. If we take a
    closer look at those industries which actually are relocated, e.g. the
    textile industry and call centers, then we can state there is no low
    wage region left to further relocate to in order to solve the profit
    squeeze by finding even cheaper workers. The textile industry moved from
    Indonesia, to China, to Vietnam, to Bangladesh and fueled workers’
    unrest and pressure on wages from below on the way. The same is true,
    though less riotous, for the new generation of call center workers in
    the Spanish and English speaking periphery. Wherever new car plants
    opened in the periphery, major strikes and demands emerged, e.g. during
    the last months in the “global car” plant of Dacia in Romania or at Ford
    in St. Petersburg, Russia. Another problem for the “globalized” hunt for
    cheap wages is the increasing transport costs due to rising oil prices:
    the production chains are over-stretched.

    Social death of the peasant worker: The migrants won’t do the job!

    So far one of the main ways to undermine a local working class and to
    re-structure industries was to suck in peasant workers into the new
    industrial areas. This was true for the beginning of the “Fordist” era
    in the US, for the “re-construction” in Europe after World War II, for
    the dictatorships of development of the 1960s to 1980s (from South Korea
    to Brazil) to India and China today. The problem is that this
    “peasant”-worker is a dying social figure. In China today the second
    generation of industrial migrant workers refuses to go back to the
    country-side, this is what the Turkish “guest-worker” did in Germany in
    the 1960s and 1970s. Capital has to face migrating proletarians which
    already have made their experiences with urban life, with factory or
    wage work, with modern forms of class struggle: e.g. migrating women
    workers from the Philippines or Bangladesh, who have worked in Dubai,
    Liberia and Romania and who have learnt how to fight.

    The food riots showed a new subject: not the starving desperate poor,
    but an urban working class!

    So far capitalism has been able to “starve out” the poor; the main
    famines and poverty related massacres took place on the countryside, on
    the bloody soil itself. The recent food riots showed that capital and
    state have to face a desperate, hungry and angry, but also highly
    organized urban proletariat. The food riots in Bangladesh were organized
    mainly by female textile workers, in Cameroon by taxi drivers and local
    youth. The forms of urban struggles seem to become more similar, be it
    in Parisian banlieus or industrial suburbs of Dhaka. The ruling class
    will need one, two,… many Katrinas in order to beat the urban poor,
    given that even the missiles on Bagdad or Kabul, the CCTV systems in
    London or job schemes in Villeurbanne do not seem to be able to sort
    things out.

    Impasses in the factories in the North: neither low wage temp jobs nor
    humanized team-work solved the crisis!

    Facing this dead-lock situation in the periphery, capital has to try
    harder to solve its crisis in the factories and other spheres of
    exploitation in the North. In order to do this capital has met a further
    situation of impasse concerning the development of a “post-Fordist”
    production model, the attacks of the core workers, the employment of
    precarious or temp workers, outsourcing to suppliers or sweat-shops.
    Following short glimpses on the matter.

    Fordism re-loaded: capital was not able to overcome the assembly-line!

    There were two specters haunting the shop-floor of factories in the
    North during the 1980s: the automated production and the humanization of
    work. It became clear quite early on that the new technologies (IT) are
    first of all used to speed-up work (particularly in logistics) and to
    tighten control, but that the actual physical work remained more or less
    untouched. The “humanization” of work got another turn in the 1990s,
    when everyone was talking about Toyotism, job enrichment and team-work.
    Since then “team-work” in most factories is a synonym for
    “peer-pressure” and institutionalized group bullying. Actual “team-work”
    turned out to be unproductive once placed under the necessity of
    valorization: role model manufacturers like Volvo returned to the
    assembly line. There seems to be no way out: value production, abstract
    labor, has to be met by a material form of production – factory work
    based on a rigid division of labor and connected to the rhythms of
    machines. Capital was not able to “revolutionize” its very own fundament
    – the focal point of workers’ reformism was crushed.

    Expensive attacks on the core workforce: future focal point of popular
    discontent?

    The last decades have seen hundreds of examples of expensive attacks on
    the core work-force in the North: Rover in England, VW in Brussels,
    several GM plants in the US. In the “best cases” capital and state had
    to pay quite high redundancy payments or social benefits. In “worse
    cases” workers managed to organize a collective response, e.g. the
    wildcat strike at GM in Germany 2004 against outsourcing and dismissals.
    During the last weeks car makers announced major job cuts or production
    stops. With the aggravating crisis, the struggle against closures of
    major plants and or other job cuts could become a focal point attracting
    everyone who felt fucked over by the current crisis regime. This is much
    more likely than an organized unemployed movement or spontaneous looting
    of the stock-market. Therefore capital and state will also calculate the
    “political price” of a direct attack on the core workers.

    Relatively low labor costs compared to costs for capital: Low wages
    won’t help!

    If we talk about the major industries, e.g. automobile, chemical,
    agro-business etc., we can see that low wages won’t be the solution for
    capitalist crisis. In a modern car factory only four to five per cent of
    the total production costs are spent on wages (including those of the
    managers). At GM in Germany a temp worker might only get 6 to 7 Euros
    before tax compared to 14 to 17 Euros of a permanent worker.
    Mathematically, lower wages would not change the general costs
    calculation too much, but in times of crisis every cent counts. Actually
    the increasing use of temp and low wage work has hit productivity:
    recently Spain got an official warning by the EU that too many temp
    contracts would cause a major increase in sick leave and lowering of
    work performance. Today most industrial workers are not able to identify
    with “their” company anymore, which for capital is a very high price to pay.

    The crisis won’t be out-sourced: Crisis and re-concentration of the
    supplying industries!

    One attempt to lower production and wage costs was by increasing the
    out-sourcing of certain departments. In this process some major car part
    suppliers grew nearly as big as the actual car manu facturers, e.g.
    Delphi, Bosch, Visteon. Everything seemed to fit the picture: a flexible
    production on demand, just-in-time, and a fragmented work-force. During
    the last years these myths collapsed: the strike at Fiat Melfi in 2004
    finally showed the vulnerability of the supplier-assembly plant link,
    for a stable production the suppliers started to manufacture in close
    spatial distance, the wages at the suppliers increased, and in 2005 the
    crisis of Delphi and Visteon showed the still existing mutual
    dependency: GM had to save Delphi, pay its workers’ pensions and wages,
    Ford had to jump in and pay out its former outsourced daughter Visteon
    in order to guarantee production.

    In this dead-lock situation credits become crucial: preparing the
    financial crisis!

    Having met these various impasses the industrial capital had to bet on
    future profits by increasing the amount of credits. This became obvious
    even before the current financial crisis; major industrial companies had
    liquidity problems, GM and Ford lost millions with their pension funds
    on the stock market, Chrysler’s leasing bank was close to bankruptcy.
    The run for money started on a global scale. Proletarians did the same,
    low wages were compensated with private debts and mortgages – but
    compared to the state and to companies their indebtedness remained
    marginal (and within the global proletariat the average Indian rural
    proletarian household is probably deeper indebted than a US-American
    working-class family, relatively to both economic output and income).
    Once the financial crisis kicked in, once the “credits” turned bad it
    swung back and aggravated the industrial crisis further: particularly
    the BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, India, China), the only states where,
    e.g. car production and sales were still increasing, are badly hit by
    the crisis. Neo-liberalism is dead, major parts of the left have been
    flogging a dead horse. Time for reorientation…

    Stop staring into the headlights: more than ever before the global
    character of this crisis can reveal the global character of the working
    class today!

    Instead of letting ourselves be hypnotized by the debt clock and share
    price slumps we should first of all analyze the struggles which relate
    to this crisis, e.g. the short wildcat strike of Renault workers against
    the announced dismissal of 1,000 work-mates in Sandouville (France) or
    of Greek airport workers against a pension scam. We will also have to
    review the uprising in Argentina during the last crisis in December
    2001: only during the first weeks of financial crash everyone seemed
    united, then the middle-classes got appeased and went back to the
    election ballots again, the employed workers only went on demos after
    the end of their shift and the unemployed movement turned into thugs for
    the new government or got occupied with the struggle for survival. The
    crisis itself won’t unite us, we have to reveal the global character of
    social production today: within the chains of migration, the global
    experience of industrial work and urban life, the growing desires of the
    rural proletariat – which all demonstrates that neither the factory
    work-organization nor profit margins or interest rate cuts will be able
    to contain our collective productive unrest!

    News from the Special Exploitation Zone –
    http://www.gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com

    gurgaon workers news

    LINKS:

    Aufheben/Britain: [www.geocities.com/aufheben2]

    Aut-op-sy: [aut-op-sy-forum]

    Blaumachen/Greece: [www.blaumachen.gr]

    Cercle social/France: [www.geocities.com/demainlemonde]

    Collective Action Notes/USA: [www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/2379]

    Echanges et Mouvement/France: [www.geocities.com/echangesetmouvement]

    Endangered Phoenix/Britain: [www.endangeredphoenix.com]

    Freie ArbeiterInnen Union/Germany: [www.fau.org]

    Kokkinonima/Greece: [www.kokkinonima.gr]

    Kolinko/Germany: [www.nadir.org/kolinko]

    Labournet.de/Germany: [www.labournet.de]

    Labourstart.org: [www.labourstart.org]

    Mondialisme.org/France: [www.mondialisme.org]

    Motarbetaren/Sweden: [trouble.at/motarbetaren]

    No War But The Class War/Britain: [www.geocities.com/nowar_buttheclasswar]

    ORA-S/Czech Republic: [alarm.solidarita.org]

    Riffraff/Sweden: [http://www.riff-raff.se]

    Thistuesday.org/Germany: [www.thistuesday.org]

    Welt in Umwälzung/Germany: [www.umwaelzung.de]

    Wildcat/Germany: [www.wildcat-www.de]

    Workers’ Collective/Poland: [paspartoo.w.interia.pl]

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  2. Gurgaon Workers News – Newsletter 13 (October 2008)

    (full version at: http://www.gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com)

    Gurgaon in Haryana is presented as the shining India, a symbol of capitalist success promising a better life for everyone behind the gateway of development. At a first glance the office towers and shopping malls reflect this chimera and even the facades of the garment factories look like three star hotels. Behind the facade, behind the factory walls and in the side streets of the industrial areas thousands of workers keep the rat-race going, producing cars and scooters for the middle-classes which end up in the traffic jam on the new highway between Delhi and Gurgaon. Thousands of young middle class people lose time, energy and academic aspirations on night-shifts in call centres, selling loan schemes to working-class people in the US or pre-paid electricity schemes to the poor in the UK. Next door, thousands of rural-migrant workers uprooted by the agrarian crisis stitch and sew for export, competing with their angry brothers and sisters in Bangladesh or Vietnam. And the rat-race will not stop; on the outskirts of Gurgaon, Asia’s biggest Special Economic Zone is in the making. The following newsletter documents some of the developments in and around this miserable boom region. If you want to know more about working and struggling in Gurgaon, if you want more info about or even contribute to this project, please do so via:

    http://www.gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com
    gurgaon_workers_news@yahoo.co.uk

    In the October issue you can find:

    1) Proletarian Experiences –
    Daily life stories and reports from a workers’ perspective

    *** Gated Communities and Repressive Social Paranoia
    With the increasing spatial concentration of wealth and misery, of upward opportunities and downward spirals, those who feel privileged tend to feel threatened. In that way Gurgaon is a landscape of mass-psychosis. The faceless dominance of exploitation – the assembly line, the export markets and real estate shares – have to congeal in physical people: the managing middle-classes, which are forced to live too close to the impoverished cogs of the game. Some notes on the consequent urban armament: gated communities, increased repression in the local prisons, more CCTV, more police…

    *** Ten Construction Workers Die after Accident in Gurgaon
    The main driving force and victims of the construction boom are the construction workers themselves. In times of credit crunches real estate developers and construction companies try to squeeze margins and cut corners. In September this resulted in the death of ten construction workers in Gurgaon, ten workers deaths that we heard about that is.

    *** Short Report from Orient Fan / Wal-Mart Worker
    The factory is situated in Faridabad, Sector 6, Plot 11. When a representative of Wal-Mart visits the factory, all workers hired through contractors are told not to come to the factory. Wal-Mart sends its reps once a year and then it’s always this very same procedure: the ‘inofficial’ workers have to turn invisible. In the last year the factory produced 200,000 fans for Wal-Mart. The shift times in the Blade department, the paint shop, the air flow and the packing department are 12 to 12 and a half hours. Published in Faridabad Majdoor Samaachaar (FMS), July 2008.

    *** Yet another list of short information from workers employed at different companies in Gurgaon – Continuation of short reports of workers from Achiever Creation, Elite Medical, Radnik Export, Rolex Auto, Viva Global, gathered and published in FMS, July 2008.

    2) Collective Action –
    Reports on proletarian struggles in the area

    *** Wildcat Sit-Down Strike at HMSI
    Short news item on yet another short wildcat action by casual workers and workers hired through contractors at Honda HMSI. The green-field factory – only opened seven years ago – has already developed a tradition of unrest (see GurgaonWorkersNews No.7). Sources said about 1,500 contractual and casual workers of HMSI have gone on a sit-in protest, on 6th of September 2008. The strike was triggered when a factory supervisor slapped and manhandled a worker after a scuffle during the night shift

    *** After wild-cat strike and mass-dismissals: Factory manager of automobile supplier in NOIDA got killed during workers’ unrest
    Two weeks after the wildcat-strike at Honda, another wild-cat strike of workers hired through contractors employed by the automobile industry ended in a bloody mess, just around the corner. In NOIDA, a group of sacked workers killed the factory manager of an Italian automobile supplier, Graziano Transmissioni. The workers had gone on strike for higher wages, the management refused the demand and sacked 200 workers, a riot started, security guards fired, the manager was alledgedly beaten to death. It could happen anywhere at any time again: sacked workers, a replicable dead manager, and 130 detained and charged workers – 60 of them with murder – facing legal repression.

    3) According to Plan –
    General information on the development of the region or on certain company policies

    *** The Bloody Real Estate of Crisis
    On 13th of August 2008 on a protest march in NOIDA, another satellite town of Delhi, several farmers were shot dead by the police and dozens got injured. The farmers demanded higher compensation for the land which they had sold to a public development authority some years ago. If the protests in NOIDA and the demands for higher compensations are the rock of the current crisis of the real estate sector then the rising interest rates, the rising prices for construction material and the recession of the US economy is its hard place. The current drop in real estate prices and of the shares of private developers like Gurgaon based DLF – the biggest in India – is more than a mere adjustment in the market swing of supply and demand. The situation of the sector can be described as a blocked pressure valve of the wider economy. The rising inflation of proletarian goods increased the pressure from below: workers particularly in the urban industries are getting restless. In this blocked and intertwined situation those in power are aware and afraid of any possible trigger effects, tipping points, chain reactions – and be it a small protest of farmers in a suburb of Delhi. A glimpse on the current crisis…

    *** Hells Bells – Glimpses on Current Trends in Gurgaon’s Call Centre Sector
    In August 2008 the newspapers announced the lay-offs of hundreds of call centre workers, many of them in Gurgaon. The reasons given for the job cuts are the recession in the US and the high costs for office rents. We summarised some news on the sector. We start with an article reporting on the attempt of the regional BPO industry to counteract the tendency of workers changing jobs too quickly – by setting up a sector-wide ‘investigation company’ which is supposed to provide a kind of ‘black list’ of the worst job hoppers. The second article was published in April 2008 and describes a potentially booming new trend from the US: cutting costs of private debt collection by outsourcing it. Following a summary of articles on various job cuts at major call centre companies in Gurgaon. We finish with two short notes, one concerning the many road deaths in Delhi-Gurgaon caused by speeding call centre cabs – a result of the enormously long working hours and time pressure which is put on the drivers. The last note is on the effect of call centre work on gender relations and the emergence of a kind of call centre workers caste.

    *** Energy Crunch and Destructive Forces in Gurgaon
    Machines have to run 24 hours a day in order to suck up enough of human energy for profitable consumption, but the frequent power cuts pose a serious problem to the local industry. Maruti runs its own power-plant and in the way most of the factories and call centres in the industrial belt around Delhi do: burning fossil fuels in their generators. About 350,000,000 litre of diesel are consumed each year by these industrial units. The rising price of diesel hits hard. Nearly Rs 14,000,000,000 per annum is spent on diesel for running gensets by about 40,000 industrial units in Faridabad, Gurgaon, NOIDA. This sum amounts to an annual wage sum of about 430,000 workers. The machine has to keep on running, energy is turned into destruction of human health and environment – and into business, e.g. by carbon emission trading. For good reasons the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH ‚ (German Technical Cooperation), opened their carbon emission trading office for India right in the centre of the polluting money-machine – in Gurgaon.

    4) About the Project –
    Updates on Gurgaon Workers News

    *** Glossary –
    Updated version of the Glossary: things that you always wanted to know, but could never be bothered to google. Now even in alphabetical order.

    News from the Special Exploitation Zone –
    http://www.gurgaonworkersnews.wordpress.com

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  3. See Flight LAN Chile No 1131: A brief history of group of Chilean migrants” written by Marcial Parada.

    Flight LAN Chile No 1131 is the story of 31 Chilean families and their children who fled the Pinochet dictatorship in 1976 to come to Australia.

    Marcial tells of their journey and arrival at the Wacol Migrant hostel in Brisbane to start a new life in Australia and how that life turned out.

    Marcial became a railway worker, an active union member of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, a stout political opponent of the Bjelke Petersen regime in Queensland and one of the main activists from Australia in solidarity with Latin America. He is now retired and lives in Brisbane.

    ‘Flight LAN Chile’ is available from Marcial Parada by ringing (07) 3278 0938. The book is in both Spanish and English.

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